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Stat Attack: Sudden impact for Nikorima

In his first game as a New Zealand Warrior Kodi Nikorima breathed life into the club's struggling attack, with the Kiwi international making an immediate impact alongside Blake Green in the halves.

Just over a week after signing across from the Brisbane Broncos, Nikorima set up two tries in the 26-18 victory over the Dragons at Suncorp Stadium, including a clever no-look pass which saw Peta Hiku put the result beyond doubt with a minute to go.  

The 25-year-old also ran the ball 11 times for 57 metres, as the Warriors made a season-high eight line breaks and equalled their second-highest points tally in a game this year.

Coach Stephen Kearney credited Nikorima for adding a different element to the team, which had scored more than 12 points in a game just four times through the opening two months of the 2019 Telstra Premiership.

"I think [Kodi] challenges the defensive line when he carries the footy and you have to really be on your toes," Kearney said.

"I thought on a couple of occasions there you could see the speed he has, he's got a really good sleight of hand also with his pass.

"They are aspects with the attack that he does pretty well."

After getting his hands on the ball 44 times against the Dragons, Nikorima also looks set to be given a far more dominant role in the halves than that assigned to Adam Keighran and Chanel Harris-Tavita earlier in the year.

In a combined five games playing alongside Green this season the rookie pair averaged only 29 receipts of the ball.  

Kearney expected Nikorima's involvement to continue to increase over the coming weeks as well, with the 13-Test Kiwi still getting his head around the Warriors' playbook.

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"I think that will evolve over the more games they play with each other. I think that will be a natural progression for us as a footy team," Kearney said.

"I think Kodi will improve, I think he will get better once he starts to jell with the footy team."

Winger Ken Maumalo, who has played alongside Nikorima for the New Zealand Kiwis on five occasions, said the diminutive playmaker has a similar style to that of former Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson.

"He likes to float around the field similar to Shauny, so we have just got to give him room to come across the field and not crowd him," Maumalo said.

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"He gets across the field fast and he's added a positive impact to our team.

"He's dived straight into training and I just love the way he brought energy to the team.

"He adds a different value to our side."

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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